Have you ever wondered how well you know yourself? Are there things you don’t know about yourself that you probably should?
Those might seem like weird questions. But self-awareness is an essential part of a fulfilling life. Because the better you know yourself, the easier it is to create the life you want.
It took a breast cancer diagnosis for me to realize that in some areas of life, I didn’t know myself all that well. And I definitely wasn’t living the life I wanted to live.
My experience with breast cancer opened my eyes to the fact that I wasn’t taking the time to really know myself as much as I should. I was too busy rushing around and trying to do all the things.
Oh – and people-pleasing. I was too busy doing that, too.
The path to knowing yourself better comes when you take time for self-reflection and personal growth.
Appointments, commitments, schedules, and to-dos are huge distractions. They keep you from taking the time to think about how you are living and what you really want out of life.
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Life is a Journey
They say life is a journey, not a destination. So in some ways, we’re always learning and growing. We won’t always have all the answers. But as you age and gain self-awareness, there are certain things about yourself that are important to know.
Sometimes, we need to take a breathe, reboot and get to know ourselves a little better. So if you’re guilty of ignoring who you truly are, then get comfy, grab a journal to jot down your thoughts, and read on!
Things You Should Know About Yourself – Or Take the Time to Learn
1. What Do You Love About Life?
When you think about what makes you happy, what comes to mind? Do you even know? What are the things that make your heart sing?
It can be anything, big or small. Or big. Hopefully, you have many things that you love about life.
For me, it can simply be sitting outside and soaking up the bright, warm sunshine. Or it can be shaking my tail feathers in a Zumba class. It can be a great conversation with a good friend or watching the wave of the ocean.
Often, I find the simple things bring me the most joy. But it’s different for everyone. So what is on your Joy List?
Don’t have one? Make one. Make a list of the things that bring you joy and happiness. If you struggle to come up with several things, take notice over the next several days and make a note of which experiences lift you up and make you smile.
2. What Are Your Personal Boundaries?
Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits you set for yourself when it comes to others. How they treat you and behave around you. Boundaries also include how you limit what others ask of and expect from you.
Think of it like this: your personal boundaries are like having a fence around you to protect yourself emotionally and physically. Boundaries keep you from being manipulated or mistreated by others.
Growing up, I didn’t know much about boundaries. I didn’t really understand the concept of proactively setting boundaries with people and limits on what I would tolerate and allow.
Therefore, as a young adult, I didn’t know how to navigate unhealthy relationships and situations. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself without being angry.
It’s so important to establish healthy boundaries in all areas of your life. Take stock of how you feel about relationships at work, at home, and with friends and family.
Do you need to set more defined boundaries? What are the things you are willing to accept and/or reject? Spend some time contemplating this area of your life and make some notes. Write down you feel.
3. What Goals Do You Want to Achieve?
I used to cringe when asked about my goals. Because frankly, I didn’t have goals. I would think about setting goals. Sometimes I would write a few goals down. But I never followed through with goal-planning until a few years ago, when I decided I wasn’t happy with where I was in life.
If you want to move forward in life, setting goals can be a great motivator.
Career goals, personal goals, relationship goals, whatever. I think sometimes the concept of “goals” can seem intimidating. Where do you begin? How do you track them? How many should you have?
If that sounds like you, consider thinking of goals as “intentions.” Basically, you’re naming what you want out of life and working towards whatever that may be.
Whichever way you want to look at it, it’s good to know what you want out of life and how you are going to get there. A vision board is a great tool for keeping your goals and intentions front, center, and top-of-mind.
4. What Do You Want Out of Life?
Maybe you want a simple and quiet life in which you live at a slower pace. You might prefer a fast-pace; never sitting still for too long. Or maybe you like a balance.
There are so many ways to experience this life: What do you want out of it?
Peace? Travel? Love? Excitement? Adventure? To make a positive impact?
What are the things deep in your heart and soul that you are longing to do?
I would bet that most of us aren’t doing them.
So, What. Do. You. Want?
Get clear on how you want to live life and start making it happen.
5. What Are Your Triggers?
Are you aware of what triggers set you off emotionally? Do certain things send you over the edge and cause you to act out or say things you shouldn’t?
Do you ever think about how you deal when something or someone pushes your buttons?
In life, we can’t avoid triggers and stressors. You can’t run from them. But you can learn to manage and cope.
Ultimately, all we can do about our triggers is to identify how we respond and practice healthy ways to deal with them.
But first, you need to know how you currently deal with your emotional triggers and identify healthy ways to cope.
It took a while, but I eventually recognized that I had a tendency to deal with my emotional triggers in unhealthy ways.
Sometimes, I would react with harsh words. Other times, I would numb out: Eating crappy food. Drinking too much wine. And getting lost in the drama of RHNY.
Now, I still get lost in the drama of RHNY. I don’t think I can ever let that little vice go. But I have learned to be more present and aware of what is pushing my buttons.
Now that I know myself better, I do a better job of identifying the stress and finding healthier ways to deal with it.
6. How Do You Get Along in the World?
I love personality tests. Any kind. I remember taking my first Myers-Briggs type indicator during my freshman year of college. Reading the results, (I am an INFP,) it was like a light bulb went off. It made so much sense.
Then later, several years into my career, the company I worked for brought in a company called Insights. We all took their Insights Discovery personality assessment and spent two days digging into and discussing our personal styles and self-understanding.
It was a fascinating process and again, I learned an incredible amount about how people process information and community so differently.
If you’re interested in self-discovery, a personality assessment is a great tool to know more about yourself.
7. What Are Your Values?
What do you stand for? What do you believe in?
Your values are what guide or motivate your attitude or actions. Core values could include your beliefs about faith, family, how you conduct yourself and the world in general.
Your values determine your priorities and actions in daily life. Your values are your guide. Do you know what they are? Are you living them?
8. What is Your Purpose?
What are you here for? What gets you going every day? Similar to values, your purpose also motivates you and drives you. But it’s more about the question, “What are you here to do?“
Your purpose may be to help or inspire others. It might be that you are a parent or caregiver, and that is your calling.
Your purpose could be connected to your career or volunteer work.
You might not know right now what your purpose is. But it’s another important thing to know about yourself. And it could take time to figure it out.
We all have a purpose. Whatever your purpose is, it is there to direct you and give your life meaning and satisfaction.
9. Who Do You Want to Be?
What kind of person do you want to be? How do you want to show up in life?
Are you trudging through the day-to-day on autopilot? Or are you living with intention?
Do you want to be more positive? A leader? An influencer? I’m not talking about being a social media influencer or being powerful and famous.
I’m talking about how do you influence and affect those around you? Whether it’s your family, friends, co-workers or even acquaintances, how you show up and represent yourself matters.
Do you bring upbeat energy to all situations and circumstances? Do you leave people with a smile and a warm feeling after you’ve interacted with them?
You can be a positive influence no matter what your job or financial status may be.
Who you are is about your qualities, how you interact with others, your attitude and your energy.
Know who you want to be and how you want to show up.
10. What Are Your Unique Gifts and Talents?
Speaking of how you show up in the world, are you sharing your unique strengths and traits? Are you being you? The real you?
Another thing you need to learn and know about yourself is what you bring to the table. What is unique and different about you that sets you apart from others?
Again, much like purpose, you have uniques strengths and gifts that you should be sharing with the world.
Listen to what others say about you. Think about what you love to do and what you are naturally good at.
Knowing what makes you “you” and using those strengths and gifts are important in knowing who you are.
What Can You Still Learn About Yourself?
If you want to know yourself better, these questions are a great starting point. But don’t stop there. Don’t stop learning about yourself.
Remember – you should always be learning. You should always be growing. Life really is a journey of experiences that teach us great lessons. Learning about yourself is what life is all about.
P.S. – If you missed them earlier, you may want to check out these posts: